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October 01, 2019
After installing your new asphalt driveway, the first thing you’ll probably want to do is seal and protect it. Protecting your investment is important; however, you’ll need to resist the temptation to immediately sealcoat your driveway. This is especially the case for those who live in an area that gets extremely cold and receives a lot of snow. Waiting a bit after installation will prevent future damage to your new driveway and save you some money. If properly installed and maintained, an asphalt driveway can last 30 years.
So, how soon can new pavement be sealcoated? Here are some general guidelines to follow to ensure your driveway lasts.
You will need to let the asphalt harden before you attempt to seal it. Fresh asphalt is softer and more flexible due to the oils that need to evaporate. It is important to let those chemicals cure and harden—you will want to wait a minimum of 90 days before sealcoating any asphalt driveway or parking lot. The longer you wait, the stronger the pavement will be. If possible, wait nine to twelve months. If you seal too soon, you risk trapping the chemicals that make the asphalt flexible and more susceptible to tire marks, imprints, and cracking. Simply rolling a sealcoating machine onto soft asphalt has enough weight to leave an imprint.
Once the pavement has had enough time to harden, it’s time to seal it. You want to wait for the ideal temperature range before sealing. Autumn is the best time to sealcoat, as the lowest temperature should be 50 degrees and the maximum 90 degrees. It is also important that there be no water on the pavement. That means clearing it of all moisture and making sure there is no rain in the forecast for the next two days. Rain will thin out the sealer and prevent it from curing and properly protecting the asphalt.
Sealing the asphalt regularly is important to maintaining it and keeping it in good condition. It isn’t necessary to re-seal the pavement annually. Every three years is often enough to protect the asphalt from extreme weather conditions. Over time, keep an eye out for cracks and uneven areas of the pavement. Again, this is important for those living in colder climates. Filling cracks will keep water from getting into the subgrade and freezing. If that happens, it will cause the pavement to heave. Heaving will lead to larger cracks and the eventual replacement of the entire driveway or parking lot.
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